A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Klitschko returns to U.S. to face Bryant Jennings
Unified IBF/WBA/WBO and IBO/Ring Magazine heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko will compete in the United States for the first time in more than 8 years. Klitschko (63-3, 54 KOs), fighting for the first time in Brooklyn, NY at the famed Barclays Center, will defend his titles against undefeated Philadelphia, PA fighter Bryant Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs). HBO will televise what should be a memorable event.
“I’m extremely happy to fight in New York again,” Klitschko said. “I had my first unification fight here and a lot of great heavyweight matches have taken place at Madison Square Garden.”
Madison Square Garden was the first stop along the journey Klitschko had toward unifying the world heavyweight championship. In February 2008, Klitschko, the IBF champion, outpointed Sultan Ibragimov to capture the WBO heavyweight crown. Klitschko made one previous heavyweight title defense against Calvin Brock in November 2006 – the first of 18 consecutive heavyweight title defenses and counting.
Klitschko, at age 38, is closing in one two very important all-time records that no one ever thought would possibly be broken. Klitschko, will be celebrating his 10th year as world heavyweight champion which began when he knocked out Chris Byrd in Germany. The all-time record for longest reign as champion is held by the legendary Joe Louis, 11 years 8 months.
Klitschko will be making his 19th consecutive title defense. Louis also holds the all-time mark with 25. Only Louis and Larry Holmes defended the world heavyweight title more than Klitschko.
Not Mike Tyson.
Not Evander Holyfield.
Not Lennox Lewis.
At 6’ 7,” 248 pounds, Wladimir Klitschko, in the foreseeable future, has an outstanding chance to become boxing’s longest reigning champion of al-time. That would be an attribute to Klitschko’s longevity, dominance, and consistency through the years. Some critics may view Klitschko’s dominance as a sign of how terrible the heavyweight division has been through the years. Regardless, Klitschko has fought and defeated every heavyweight contender placed in front of him whether handpicked, or ranked amongst the IBF, WBA, and WBO.
Klitschko fights with the same passion he had when he arisen from the canvas three times to outbox Samuel Peter through twelve rounds in September 2005.
During the last 10 years, Klitschko, like anyone else, has experienced change. His longtime trainer, mentor, and friend Emmanuel Steward, one of the greatest boxing historians of all-time, died of cancer. His older brother, Vitali Klitschko returned from retirement to join him as the only brothers to simultaneously become world heavyweight champions, defended his title for five years, retired, and pursued a career in Ukrainian politics. Wladimir himself recently got married and had a baby.
Regardless of change, the business of preparing for each and every world heavyweight title defense remains the same. The anticipation of talking to the media, taking pictures, and signing autographs remains the same. The countless hours in the gym exercising, sparring, film study, talking about boxing, and focusing on fight-night remains the same. It doesn’t get old for Wladimir, as he carefully prepares for each fight with great anticipation under new trainer Jonathan Banks, a former chief-second and boxer to Steward.
Klitschko can and will fight for as long as he wants, but it won’t be easy as Jennings, 30, is hungry and willing to do whatever it takes to dethrone Klitschko.
“I do have great respect for Bryant Jennings and his achievements,” Klitschko said. “He has good movement in the ring and good technique. I know this will be a tough challenge.”
Jennings, at 6’ 3,” has size, can box, and punch well. Jennings uses he feet well and fight aggressively. Jennings aggressiveness should provide a challenge for Klitschko. It should be an exciting fight.